Bamboo Creative OUTREACH – sharing knowledge and skills to developing regions
Developing regions are developing FAST – moving more and more towards cement and tin/tile (and air-conditioners) and AWAY from traditional natural materials… Supposedly “modernising”… and moving away from “the land” while we ‘westerners’ are going the Opposite way, (now having hindsight and realisation of the beauty, peace and simplicity we lost through Industrialisation). And while WE yearn for more natural and unique handcrafted lives, THEY/people in developing countries – seem to be or ARE gearing towards more mass production and consumerism. Ordinarily, people in developing countries live on about 20% of the consumption rate of ‘westerners’ (including electricity).. but soon the energy needs and generation of waste in developing countries where more than 70% of the world’s population lives are going to be off-the-chart ... unless we work together to innovate and create change!
Restoring the balance…
We are currently working with Astungkara Way Collective to promote bamboo as a renewable sustainable material to local farmers and residents; Creating a traditional Bamboo Treatment plant and investigating the process and economic viability of treating bamboo through Studying and Analysing Bamboo Traditional Treatment methods using fermentation of the bamboo as practiced by previous generations of cultures akin with bamboo.
Our Focus is on Designing and Building cost-effective bamboo structures which are attractive and affordable for/to people living in post-colonised countries and for those who generally can not afford the more elaborate styles of bamboo building common in popular/ modern architecture and who are interested to learn to build themselves.
This program is starting in Late April 2022 with the start of the Bamboo Harvest time and will be combined with our Bamboo Training Courses and Online Learning Course so our members in remote locations can learn and share the information and online training materials we have so far consolidated. We would love your support and contribution towards the ongoing study and practical processes for making affordable bamboo design accessible to local populations and contributing to a Regenerative culture of inclusion, transparency and fairness.
Online Bamboo Program
Study and Learn online about Bamboo – be part of our Facebook Group and see progress happening on our bamboo structures and projects and when you can join us in Bali, attend your personalised apprenticeship program with us. Learn from Local bamboo experts and stay with a local family in our bamboo dorm (being built during our April-July Course)or one of the home-stays we will be building alongside our course programs to help further regional development and appropriate design and technology for nature-based living with bamboo in our local communities, Experience Team bamboo design and learn the hands-on construction processes through building a bamboo room/small “homestay” building… Join our monthly membership program or pay yearly – Enquire Now to become part of this program.
Book your Apprenticeship
We offer a sliding-scale contribution approach to make this learning accessible to the everyone. Please communicate whatever way you feel you can pay/contribute and also offer your skills and time. Whether you’d like to contribute more physically through Skills/Labour in construction and/or professional sense or are interested to assist in developing aspects of our inclusive program for disabilities. We are committed to finding ways to collaborate which are mutually beneficial for everyone. You can pre-pay your program fully or partially to assist us in financing and preparations, ready for your arrival and participation… Email us for more info firstname.lastname@example.org
Living in Palawan sparked my interest in bamboo; I wondered why it wasn’t being used more by locals – and as to what are the barriers to bamboo becoming a sustainable building material there. Presently, most local people can’t see how bamboo can be of benefit to them. Bamboo workers are generally still low-paid and the practical skills and expertise are being lost at a rapid rate (it’s not seen by locals as an ‘attractive career prospect because it’s low-paid. Further, bamboo may become an industrialised and mass produced “product”, so to maintain it’s value and the art of working with it – we must facilitate it’s cultural revival and enable developing country populations fairer deals around the sales process and improve worker salaries/empower the formation of local businesses to trade themselves rather than the current model where the makers of products receive something around 10% of the end sale-price…. Shipping fees out of developing countries currently work to ensure that middle men are the ones making the mark up and prevent local businesses themselves from trading independently – keeping them on “poor” salaries basically as most traders “buy low; sell high” – it’s the Capitalistic way.
Unite the Tribes
Through International collaboration, UNITE THE TRIBES is a project geared towards sharing knowledge and resourcing tribal/indigenous people to build/form homestay networks by bringing the finance/capital needed for them to build local sustainable livelihoods; thereby encouraging them not to sell their land (current predominant trend of dispossession and increasing “urban poor populations”).
There are many factors that affect uptake of sustainable building, resource use and technologies in developing regions. Apart from access to knowledge about sustainable building technologies and techniques, one major roadblock is that banks won’t lend money to people in SE Asian countries unless their house is made of cement and tile (i.e. has a “resale value”). It’s not surprising then that bamboo is perceived as being just for “poor people” (or only for the “very rich”) . Local wages and current currency exchange rates also have a huge effect on affordability of any kind of material and technology that could make people’s homes and livelihoods develop towards global goals which the “west” professes are essential for future sustainability.
By sharing important knowledge and assisting developing countries to finance sustainable enterprises through creating sharing complimentary relationships which preserve local cultures and reduce the potential impacts of “economic development” we can help to slow the manic train of development and resource exploitation. In most developing countries, knowledge is lacking about making Bamboo a viable building material because it usually only lasts 5-7 years before insects demolish it. Most ‘modern’ treatment methods for preserving bamboo are too expensive for people in developing counties living on local wages to afford. What if it could be made affordable? What if we can share and demonstrate the value of how bamboo can be utilised and adapted to the “modern” environment in a way that people in “developing” (post-colonised) countries can see how such goals can be applied by them?
We NEED to be sharing this technology and making partnerships to maximally AFFECT and bring about CHANGE immediately and effectively/efficiently while building trust and creating lasting partnerships for peaceful global relations. I’m referring to not only preservation methods for bamboo but also low-tech sustainable technologies such as water pumping and storage, waste management and diversified food production.
At the primary level, this project facilitates rural upliftment, improved living conditions, affordable technology, pollution reduction, and assistance in developing potential income through sustainable livelihoods (pumping water without electricity, low-cost water storage, renewable electricity generation, bamboo preservation, earthship building and zero-waste systems). We are creating projects giving experiential learning opportunities in Bamboo Design, Preservation, Building and Construction to “westerners” where they can directly contribute to the betterment and ecological sustainability and development with project partners (“sister projects”) locally and in other regions globally… and aim to share a knowledge base of peer to peer resources to speed up the process of innovation and change globally.
Eastern cultures have plenty of Time, but no money; Western cultures have plenty of Money (comparatively), but no Time… If we could bring together our needs, and make a mutually beneficial solution that can be sustained and bring about a greater sense of family… if we could indeed build a bridge and a trust (legally or in good-faith) – I don’t know what parameters NEED to be set except that … Perhaps we could create an enterprise which surpasses our capitalistic whims and desires – and which serves us at a more truly human level… So let’s invest together, in a way where/in which we may learn and benefit from each other and have experiences which fulfil our SOUL. Recall some of what our western culture has lost in its extreme Individualism… and return together to a place of sharing and peace; that we may give some hope to what may continue to evolve and ways we can Thrive as a human species.
You can become a part of this project to initiate change and help sponsor the foundational steps our partner projects need through the establishment phase, and especially during this critical time when global food supplies are becoming less reliable and income from foreign/international “trade”/tourism can not be relied upon. By becoming a member/sponsor of this project, you will have access to join our Bamboo Creative Bali Group and have access to all the materials we will be sharing with start-up projects and receive credit/special access to our programs, knowledge, technology and resources in Bali and around the world….
This project in East Uganda, founded by Joel Odongo is a Women and Youth Empowerment Project. Joel reached out over a year ago having been granted an area of land in his local community to develop his community project vision for a Bamboo and Recycled Plastic Eco-Enterprise to enable the Revivement and Regeneration of his local community and empower Youth and women to take an active environmental and economic role in uplifting their community’s quality of life and sense of cohesion and rebuild “ownership” of their community lives through Helping their community as a whole. (All the people I have spoken to via video call have a strong sense to help their community). We need help to build the central community building and water infrastructure and Joel’s community members have already made 20,000 clay bricks!!! and establish the bamboo and plant nursery. You can help by donating here:
So far we have been working on sharing techniques for building smokeless stoves in people’s homes. (Smoke inhalation causes health problems mainly in women, who do most of the cooking, as stoves are located inside people’s homes and cooking fuels are wood and charcoal). Deforestation, even just around the village is an issue as there is no sustainable reserve for cooking fuel… so we are working on a Charcoal Briquette Brigade – a small enterprise which will earn an income for its members through sales of briquettes, and utilising agricultural waste from peanut, rice hull and maize to make the briquettes so no further tree loss needs to happen. (Joel and I have learned a lot about each other’s cuisines and cooking styles as indonesia and Uganda share quite a similar climate and crops … a few of our conversations have turned momentarily entirely gastronomical… ;-)… it happens). This project is currently actionable and needs financial support for purchase of materials for project infrastructure and the community is providing labour in-kind:
Uganda surprisingly has a very large resource of bamboo vegetation, but not much is known locally about how to use it…. and that is the main area he (Joel) is seeking knowledge in. There are so many varieties of bamboo, it is hard to fathom… some are good for building, some for crafts, some for eating, some for firewood, and the list goes on… We aim to facilitate knowledge transfer of appropriate uses and growing methods, planning and sustainable management for local communities such as Joel’s. If you would like to request access to our knowledge base, please send a request to email@example.com
There are many “reports” available online about the “commercial” potential of a bamboo “industry” being made in Uganda. To me (myself personally) I am wary of such “talk” because it will probably mean local people being “used” as a workforce for low wages (as so often and ‘inevitably’ happens with Commercial ventures). So what we aim to create instead is locally-owned ventures in production of something that actually enhances the quality of life and sustainability for Local People… (though still knowing the importance of commercial application – we hope to work alongside local communities and project partners to Grow community industries which empower local people and a co-ownership model which incentivises Real Sustainable Growth and Economic Enterprise).
An abundance of plastic waste is also available to utilise locally…. and we aim to facilitate fusion between traditional weaving skills and techniques for upcycling plastic waste to come up with unique value-added innovative products that enable the makers to brand their product directly (and to not pose as a third party “innovator” ourselves – but give direct responsibility to the makers and just help create a platform for them to market their products). We would love to connect with other organisations with similar interests and aims appreciate advice to help further the project goals. If you are an innovator interested in becoming involved with this project and partnering with communities or individuals within them to develop joint-ventures, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you!
Philippines – Palawan – Salacot Waterfalls /Napsan Area
I have a promise to a family in the Napsan area of Palawan to bring low-tech affordable water technology to their tribal village area – where there is so much water but they have no electricity and no way to pump it up the hill so every day are carrying water which is impractical and unnecessary… My plan while living with this family was to build a little homestay with them to give them a source of income they could utilise instead of having to go to the city to work… but the termites were phenomenal (this is what initially brought me to Bali – to learn about bamboo treatment). But first, they needed running water…
Even though there is plenty of pristine water close-by, the families carry it up to the houses manually each day in gallons. We purchased polypipe and tried to set up a gravity-feed from a nearby spring – but the ‘head’ wasn’t high enough (also there’s no electricity so an electric pump wasn’t feasible). I abandoned the project to find the knowledge we needed, and when the opportunity arose, I invited a Philippino friend to come to Bali and learn about it so we could take the skills back there.
In October 2017 Richard Tercio joined us from the Philippines to learn about renewable technologies at the Bali Appropriate Technology Institute with Rus Alit. Topics covered included Hydrolic Ram Pump (pumping water without electricity) and Water Filtration, Our plan: To make OUTREACH tours to the Philippines – to visit and share this technology with others in need of it both in Palawan and areas in the mountain behind Manilla; Learn more and experience local lifestyle and skills to do with traditional making of rattan, nipa palm, bamboo; and, hopefully help set up a bamboo treatment facility, make a building collaboration and encourage “trash innovation” !
Become part of this project and help further the goal of sharing renewable technologies and knowledge of treatment methods for making bamboo a long-term sustainable building material/resource in developing countries through low-cost low-tech bamboo preservation and treatment processes for village-scale sustainable bamboo developments. Contact Us for more info.
Taking solar lamps to families of the Batak tribe in Palawan, Philippines… Finding a need and going on an adventure with a friend who wants to help and see remote village life…
This is me and my awesome friend Sameh, who I met on the Tacloban Earthship Volunteer Build in Philippines in 2015 after Typhon Yolanda/Hyan. Sameh works for an AID organisation in Kuwait and asked me to help him take solar lights to some “poor people in a remote area” of Palawan (where I was living with my daughter during 2016). “Coincidentally”, I had just been on a visit to the Batak Tribe area for their annual Wild Bee Honey harvesting festival… and actually the tribal elder requested that I bring solar lights on my next visit there… It was Sameh’s vacation time from work and he wanted to see some beautiful places and help people (don’t you love that…!?). I organised things and we visited the tribal area and distributed solar lights bought locally in the town of Puerto Princessa.
I have some reservations about the quality of solar lights and what will happen to the batteries when they die… as well as the plastic parts etc. I’ve been blessed to have been put in touch with Akarsh of BePolite, a solar technology innovation project in India, originating in Calcutta where previously, on nightfall, it was difficult for street-stall holders to operate and little dangerous. Akarsh and his team have developed a highly portable and robust solar lamp kit with 2 lamps and a usb output which serves the needs of street vendors perfectly… and could probably be utilised in Indonesia quite well at this level… a little different from Sundaya who are a local brand of solar lamp and technology manufacture suited to household systems.
And I came across POWERWELLS who are developing small solar systems using recycled laptop batteries for remote communities and up cycled torches (bamboo) which cost around $1 to produce. These systems stand to create much less waste and enable more people to “charge” devices and to make solar lights themselves. We would like to help make use of old laptop batteries in Indonesia and make an incentive program for local people, especially where there is no trash collection, to sequester any single-use plastic waste into ECOBRICKS and bring rewards in the form of sustainable technologies such as these to help our planet and give solutions to the plastic “throw-away” problem littering our societies.
In upcoming Outreach Adventure tours, we aim to bring this technology to our communities with ECOBUILDER TOURS to make structures from natural/recycled materials where small solar systems can be installed centrally in the community… where people can charge their phones/solar lamps (One Powerwells system can charge around 20-30 mobile phones/solar lights per day). We are currently working on the incentive of Ecobrick Exchange…. to reward communities for taking ANTI-POLLUTION measures to dispose of waste and SHARE knowledge and education about encapsulating and keeping trash OUT of our natural ecosystems through Ecobrick-building.
Contact Us if you’d like to get involved!
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